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SURVIVAL GUIDE 




TABLE OF CONTENTS 




HIGHPOOl 3 

AGRICULTURAL CENTER 5 

DESERT NOMADS 7 

MINE SHAFT 9 

QUARTZ - 11 

ScoH's Bor 13 

Stagecoach Inn 1 5 

Courthouse - " 

Outlaw Hideout 1' 

NEEDLES 21 

DARWIN VILLAGE 25 

VEGAS 27 

Temple of the Servants of the Mushroom Cloud 29 

Sewers ~ — - 31 

SLEEPER BASE, Level 1 33 

Level 2 - • 35 

Level 3. „ ^ ~ - - 37 

FINSTER'S CHAMBERS 39 

Mind Maze 41 

GUARDIAN CITADEL 43 

Outer Sanctum 45 

si Inner Sanctum 47 

SAVAGE VILLAGE 49 

BASE COCHISE 51 

level 1 — «~ - 53 

Level 2 - 55 

level 3 ~. ..~ - ~~. 57 

Final Level ~ - 59 

EPILOGUE 61 








I 




I got stuck working with these Rangers because I was the only one who could figure out any mop, even if it was 
just a fly speck on a grid. These tumbleweed-for-brains couldn't figure out a map if it showed only one street in 
one town. So I got to guide them all around the southwestern deserts of the United States on some mission. Hell, 
they didn't even know what the mission was when we started. Stew said that somebody was aimin' to "run this 
dang desert show" and that he wouldn't rock on his bootheels until it happened. So, our great ambiguous mission 
was to locate the source of some disturbance in the desert. The only disturbance, it seemed, was occurring between 
some unwashed ears. • I ' 

We were tossed together, the four of us. I guess it wos because we had such o wide variety of skills when you 
added us up. Our leader was Stew. If they hadn't told me that he was the son of the legendary Desert Ranger 
Hell Razor, I would hove thought (hat he was another sun-dried old desert coot. He learned how to shoot "before 
seeing the whites of their eyes" so he got to be our leader. Kate was a carbon copy of Stew, only she was years 
younger and used the women's restroom. Eugene wos a mild-mannered guy with pasty white skin. He had 
absolutely no desire to leave his air-conditioned lab to muck about the desert, but we needed someone with 
technological expertise. I was recruited to keep them from ending up in Maine. 



This survival guide is just my account of the places we went and things that happened to us during our year long 
tour through a sandy hell. If you travel through these areas, this tells you about some of the things you can look 
for — or avoid. You're probably not going to do everything exactly the way we did, so don't freak out if things 
don't come out exactly the some. Just find your bearing and keep going. 

One thing about the desert: anything goes. It's just one big lawless sandbox. Do anything you wont, but just don't 
get yourself killed. That tends to shorten your life spon incredibly. Good luck and may your Uzi never jam. 



s 







When we were standing outside of the Ranger Center yesterday, Stew said that we could make it to Highpool 
before the day was out. Well, two days went out and we weren't there. Never let a guy who picks his teeth with 
shell casings tell you how long it takes to get anywhere. i 

Store — We didn't have ony money to buy anything, so we checked our inventory and browsed for things that 
we knew we would need. A canteen was a must in the desert; there'd be sure heat exhaustion without it. A rope 
would come in handy; never know when you'd hove to lower yourself from strange places or sling across a chasm. 
And additional ammo never hurt a good Ranger. The jewelry caught our eye, but we knew that there'd be no 
use for glittery hunks of rocks in the desert. 

Workshop — There was a funky old workshop at the southern end. Eugene checked out all the machine ports 
and figured that the pump must hove had something to do with the water purifier. If we had an engine, we 
could've gotten the purifier going again. I forgot to pack an engine when I put on my socks that morning, so we 
couldn't do anything at that time. 

Hospital — There was a hospital here with a doctor who was dying to treat someone. He insisted that I could 
use an exam, but I declined. I couldn't stand the thought of being prodded by a guy who had graduated from 
some one-room university that operated in the shade of a cactus. Eugene was tired enough to buy a little healing. 
We should've left him there for a complete personality implant. 

Bobby — We found this kid cowering in the corner. He wouldn't tell us anything until Stew put his face two inches 
from the boy's and asked all these questions about the cave and about Jackie and about the dog. Here the kid 
lost it (maybe out of fear, maybe because Stew's breath was so bad). He started babbling about how his dog Rex 
was sick and how he told Jackie not to go down the cove. 

The Cave — It wasn't easy to find at first, but we finally did, thanks to my great perception. (Before we left 
Ranger Center, Stew slung his arm around my shoulder and told me "You bein' the most schooled and all, I was 
thinkin' that you'd be best at findin' stuff. Can I count on ya?" He slapped me hard on the back, which meant 
my answer ought to be yes. So in addition to getting them around, I was in charge of using my perception skill 

everywhere possible.) jSS Mf m ^aP^fe 

We used our climb skill to get over the piles of rocks and encountered Rex, Bobby's sick dog (Rex was rabid, if 
you want to know the plain truth). Rather than let the dog go on in its sick, frothy misery, I did the humane thing 
and sent it to the big kennel in the sky with a single bullet. We found Jackie crouching behind the rocks in the 
very back of the cave and escorted her out. 



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I 




AGRICULTURAL CENTER 




AGRICULTURAL CENTER 




The vegetables here were freakish. I could've used a string bean for a baseball bat. I could've hollowed out a 
carrot and made a canoe out of it. I guess thai was why the animals in the fields were going nuts. They must've 
thought they had died and gone to veggie heaven. According to Miguel, one of the farmers, they were completely 
out of control. He enlisted our help to beat those bunnies back. 

"Strangers," he said, "you appear to be brave veterans of many wars. You must help us. We can offer you no 
more than the fruits we harvest and our gratitude. This battle is too much for us but surely nothing for you." Stew 
was adequately flattered and immediately accepted the challenge. Miguel led us to the vegetable field where we 
meet an old man who looked at us like we were babies in diapers. He told us that if we were lucky enough to 
succeed, we should come back and see him. 

Catapult/Satellite — Before we headed into the vegetable patch, Eugene studied the catapult and mumbled 
something about "a rudimentary defense system." As we walked past the north side of the satellite dish, he made 
an equally unfocused comment about "a pointless relic." Rather than pursuing his observation and risking a 
dissertation on technology I could've cared less about, we quietly headed towards the veggie patch. 

Harry the Bunny Master — The old farmer told us to look out for this guy, and boy was he right. Harry 
had a way with his oxe. I guess when you live your life out in the fields, you learn how not to let silly little things 
like Rangers with pistols and rifles bother you. But we eventually "bothered" him long enough to leave him in 
a bloody heap. In fact, he took so much lead from our pistols that we all raised our weapon skills. 

Root Cellar — After we killed Harry and picked up what little loot he had, we went back to the old man. He 
was pretty impressed with our work so he showed us his root cellar. The computer graveyard intrigued Eugene, 
but he didn't find anything that could be of use to us. Under one of the computer consoles, I found a diary that 
gave a little history about the place; good after dinner reading. The boxes in the back room brought better 
fortune. We dug through each of the boxes (I hod to use my perception to detect some of the harder-to-find items) 
and left with our packs a little fuller. 

Animal Burrow — A hole in the southwest wall lead to the animal burrow. It was like a shooting gallery down 
here; hit one of those crazy bunnies and another would pop up in its place. Although we used up a lot of ammo, 
we got in plenty of target practice that helped us improve our shooting skills. 











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DESERT NOMADS 




DESERT NOMADS 





The camp was pretty quiet when we were there. About the most exciting thing was the dust devils that blew through 
and kicked everything around that wasn't tied down. Railroad tracks ran through the camp, but it was obvious 
that neither the engine, boxcars or caboose had moved in years. 9 

Engineer — Seeing how his face lit up when his eyes found us, we decided to talk with him. He coughed up 
plenty of information about the Atchison, Topeka and the Sante Fe clans, not to mention a disparaging remark 
or two about the Brakeman at the other end of the train line. 

Hobo — Since he needed great liquid encouragement to orate, we fed him bottle after bottle of snake squeezins. 
Finally, after about his tenth bottle, he passed out from the stress of his visions. They all seemed like nonsensical 
rumblings, but at the last minute I gave him credit for being pretty deep and jotted them down just in case. 

Brakeman — He wasn't as delighted to see us as the Engineer was, but he did take me into his confidence for 
some strange reason. He handed me a Visa card and in a hushed voice told me to take itto Head Crusher in Quartz. 
Without further explanation, he disappeared back into the darkness of the caboose. 

Trading Car — Eugene and I were in the trading car when he suddenly shouted The engine! Give me 500 
bucks!" Turned out that the engine was exactly what the Highpool purifier needed. I wasn't too interested in 
handing over the wad of cash — especially for a cause as lost as Highpool — but Eugene convinced me that 
this sort of boy scout business would be good for our careers. (When we eventually took it back and installed it 
in the purifier, the guy in the store gave us a Mangier rocket. He also gave us jackets that he said would offer 
some protection.) 

Gambling Car — I never imagined that gambling would require much skill until I lost SI 00 in under a minute. 
Much to our amazement, Eugene proved to be quite the high-rolling stud. He had enough gambling skills to get 
on a winning spree that helped us stockpile extra cosh. 

The Tents — Before leaving the camp, we decided to check out the tents. We weren't much into invading 
people's privacy (Stew always told us Hie cleaner you keep your nose, the less it'll get broke") but our curiosity 
overwhelmed us. We tried to chat with the guard at the west tent, but were gruffly rebuked by the Atchison man. 
At the second tent, the guard smiled wide and invited us to come in, but as Kate took a step forward, Stew grabbed 
her by the arm and pulled her back. Stew knew a Topekon (who were always poised for a fight) when he saw 
one, and didn't want to get sucked into a skirmish at this time. We stopped by the last camp, but that guard took 
absolutely no interest in us. We know when it's time to leave town. 









MINE SHAFT 





Fresh footprints on the floor told us that we weren't the only ones here, so we took our weapons in hand and crept 

along as if we were going to get a big, nasty surprise. 

IK IB vK§ flu 

Corpses — Throughout the mine, we stumbled on corpses, some fairly fresh. Not ones to pass up an easy loot, 
we checked out the bodies for possessions, with some success. Eugene wouldn't touch a thing, though. The bodies 
freaked him out so much that he stuck his pistol straight ahead. Actually, Eugene was becoming a fair morksman 
by now. We all were learning from each of our encounters. Who was it who said "That which does not kill you 
makes you stronger"? Beats me, but that was about the key concept out in the desert. Every time we used one 
of our skills or attributes, we got better at H. I just knew that I had used my perception so much, H wouldn't be 
long before I'd be able to find the strangest things in the strangest places. 

Shadowclaw — Call it tempting fate, but just as Eugene turned o corner with his pistol at attention, a 
Shadowclaw lurched for him. Eugene burned his whole clip, but the creature just gave him a "my turn" smile. 
We fired up the heaviest storm we could, and in a surprising display of courtesy, the creature slumped into a 
bloody heap just as we were down to our last clips of ammo. 

Ammunition Room — In the southeast corner of the mines we found o room with a strong box that contained 
a few items, but nothing that got our little hearts racing. We took the rope and the gas masks just in case. 

Roof Cave In — There was a place in the mine where the roof caved in when somebody walked under it. Like 
me, in particular. I walked under it and got a complete cranial rock massage. I think it look three days before 
my head quit throbbing. 

Silver — We found some silver ore sticking out of the wall in a shallow tunnel. The ever-delicate Kate was ready 
to blow a hole in the wall with a grenade when Stew grabbed her tightly by the wrist, muttered something about 
"pyrotechnic junkie," and told her to put it away. He pulled out his pick ox and gently chipped out the ore. A few 
chunks fell at his feet, prompting him to explain to Kate, "That's how we do it in a cove that'll collapse at any 
minute, you chucklehead." When it comes to mining for that sweet silver, never argue with the man with 
metallurgy skills. 










I unfolded the map of Quartz onto the ground and Stew (ome over. As I was asking him where he wonted to go 
first, he yelled for Kate. "She spent a few years here after her parole. She was young. It was really just a 
misdemeanor," he confided to me. 

Kate dropped the lizard she was torturing and came over without a word. Stew asked her for the highlights of 
Quartz and she told us that Mights was all we were going to get. After taking a long, sweeping glance across 
the town, Kate explained that most of the buildings were just homes and that they were probably abandoned 
by now. She did point out on my map a couple of places that were "must sees/' so I jotted them down. 

We had two choices of travel routes in Quartz: above ground or under ground. Both had their pluses and minuses. 
If we travelled above ground, we wouldn't have had to breathe in the distinct sewer stink of rats and slime. But 
we would have had to face more of the pot shots from locals who didn't like outsiders (we preferred to think of 
ourselves as tourists, but (hot didn't strike a single hospitable bone in their bodies). In the commendable interest 
of self-preservation, Stew chose to use the sewers. 

Before we made our visit to Scott's Bar, we stopped by a hospital to make sure we hadn't picked up anything 
from the corpses back in the mine shaft. Quack's Clinic was the only medical establishment around so, despite 
the fact that the place cost more than in Highpool and despite its name, we all got exams. You can pay now or 
pay later, I guess. 








11 




i 








QUARTZ, Scott's Bar 



Scott's Bar 



This turned out to be an average desert dive. We found a gra fittkovered table in the northeast corner of the bar 
and settled in. 



Dancers — When Eugene followed the dancers up onto the stage (at their insistence, he claimed) he suddenly 
became the entertainment for a crowd of hooting drunks. He tried to leave the stage, but was "assisted'' back 
on and then pelted with rotten fruit. Convinced that he should do something, he used his acrobatic skills and 
flipped about the narrow stage. He received some tepid applause, and responded to that by using his dexterity 
in o little trick and then his knife throwing skills. Finally, he tried his charisma by telling a few jokes and they 
let him off with hearty applause. 

Bathrooms — Now that the performance pressure was off, Eugene remembered why he ever got up in the 
first place: to go to the bathroom. In it he found a boy who was shaken up and carrying on about his sister Laurie 
and about a guy named Ugly. Kate, who was in the women's bathroom, also overheard some interesting gossip. 

Old Riddle Man — This old man was sitting at the table in the corner across from us. He wouldn't stop staring 
at Stew and me so we went over to ask him if we were that good looking or that ugly. He didn't answer my question. 
Instead, he proceeded to ask us riddles. I figured out the first two answers: TOAST and R. Stew knew the third 
answer was URABUTLN from staring long enough at the table we were at. 

Ellen — Stew finally got the nerve to talk to her and went by himself over to the bar where she was standing. 
From across the room I could see her smile and hand him something. When he got back to our table he showed 
me what she had given him; a key for room 1 8 at the Stagecoach Inn. He told me — with a smile as wide as 
his head could accommodate — that he paid her the appropriate compliment of URABUTLN: You are a beauty, 
Ellen. 



Scott — Scott was the owner and bartender of the fine establishment, and was about as friendly and talkative 
as a bartender could get without making the customers want to get up and leave. Scott was liberal with the 
information — after he was tipped, that is. He told us about an outlaw named Ugly who had taken the Mayor 
hostage. He also doled out news about a guy named Ace who had been looking for Rangers to help him out with 
some trouble in Vegas before he disappeared. 

Head Crusher — I saw Head Crusher sitting alone at the back of the bar. I could tell he didn't want an audience, 
so I met with him alone. I showed him the visa card that the Brokeman had given me and in return he gave me 
a password to give to the Atchison guard back at (he Nomad's Camp. (When we later returned to the Atchison 
tent, we got started on a treasure hunt that nearly got Stew killed.) 





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Stagecoach Inn 



After we left Scott's Bar, we headed straight for the Stagecoach Inn to quell Stew's burning curiosity about the 
key Ellen gave him. Once inside, we entered through the doors on our left and found the desk clerk tilted back 
in his chair, snoozing away. Kate kicked the counter with her boots, which shocked the clerk into a backward 
tumble that effectively roused him from his sleep. We hadn't intended on renting a room, but at the insistence 
of Eugene — whose head wos pounding from the anxiety of his stage debut — we did. 

The Rooms — We went to room 10 and set our pocks down. After smoothing out the lumps in the bed and 
stretching out flat on his back, Eugene was snoring away at top volume. Rather than listen to him snort like a 
congested rhino, the rest of us decided to check out the other rooms. Kate, our resident lockpicker, moved door 
to door, one second gently working the lock and the next second slowly pushing the door back. Despite all our 
work, we didn't find anything salient; just a thug or two and a little loot. The only room we didn't go to was room 
1 8. We decided to wail until Eugene got his beauty rest before going here. 

Laurie — After a few hours had passed, we woke Eugene up and headed over to room 1 8. Before Stew could 
whip out the key, Kate had picked the lock just for fun. When the door swung full open, the sole occupant turned 
towards us, startled and angry. Stew used his charmismo and confidence to calm her down. She relaxed a bit and 
asked us for a servomotor. We gladly gave her the one we had found in the housekeeping storage room. Laurie 
took a deep breath of relief and smiled. Like we had heard so many times before, she told us about Quartz's state 
of siege. She gave us some ammunition and several leads on how to get to the Courthouse and bade us good luck. 
(After we left. Stew cuffed Kate behind the ears. He said he could've used the key, told her what he told her mother 
— URABUTLN — and saved the poor girl the shock of having her door picked open by some stranger.) 

The Pool — Without a word, Kate dove in and stroked out o few lops. When she got out, we asked her why 
she plunged in fully clothed. All she could say was that you never knew when you'd have to swim fully clothed 
and she wanted to work on that skill. At this point, Eugene asked her if he could shoot her since he'd never know 
when she'd be shot and he'd like to get better at his medic skills. Kate slammed the butt of her rifle into Eugene's 
stomach and / got to practice my medic skills on Eugene, who wos doubled over in substantial pain. 

Housekeeping Storage Room — We decided to use the secret way to get to the Courthouse through this 
room. (This, by the way, bummed Eugene out, who was all ready to present the password MUERTE at the front 
door.) Once we snake squeezed the two bums and got past them, we found the trap door and were on our way 
to the Courthouse. 



15 



Second Floor — Through the trap door we ended up behind a tree in the atrium of the Courthouse. We found 
a flight of stairs just outside the atrium and climbed quietly to the second floor. A guard stationed at the lop of 
the second floor asked us for the password. Eugene ribbed me out of delight and then said MUERTL 

Louie — Heading along the south wall, we ran into a group of thugs who stopped us and eyed us carefully before 
waving us by. Stew heard loud snoring in one of the rooms and beckoned Kate over to pick the lock. As she pushed 
the door open, we could see in the entrance the author of the nasal rumblings. Before he could awoken to his 
fate, Kate strangled him and tossed him to the floor. Searching his body, she found a bracelet on his wrist that 
had no design, just the number 27 engraved on its underside. 

Hewey and Dewey — We headed over to the other door and pushed it open, surprising Hewey and Dewey. 
When the last of the bullets found a place to rest, the men lay dead on the floor and Eugene sat slumped against 
the wall with a bullet lodged in his shoulder. Kate brought us two bracelets identical to the one we found on Louie, 
except these hod the numbers 1 1 and 1 6 on them. 

Dan Gtrine — I patched Eugene up while Stew cut the bonds of o man strapped tightly to o choir. After Stew 
gave him a sip of snake squeezing Dan Gtrine wiped the blood from his shirtless chest and rose weakly to his 
feet to thank us. In return for our help, he offered to come along with us and show us where the Mayor was being 
held. | 

Quartz Gty Jail — The guard on the third floor looked at us and assumed we belonged to his fraternity of 
ruffians so he let us by without a blink. We picked the lock to the first cell on the right and found Dan's father. 
After their reuniting embrace, Dan's father gave us a nice reward. 

Mayor Pedros — Checking the rest of the cells, we found Mayor Pedros. Although he was at first suspicious 
of our good intentions, we convinced him that if we were really the enemy, we would have been happy to leave 
him there to rot. Mayor Pedros liked our sense of humor and joined up with us (he didn't realize we were serious 
about letting him rot). 




QUARTZ, Outlaw Hideout 






Outlaw Hideout 





Under the guidance of Mayor Pedros, we found Ugly's hideout diagonal from the Courthouse. When the guard 
asked us for the password, Eugene smiled broadly, pulled out a sheet of paper he had found in the Courthouse, 
and then announced KAPUT with all the subtlety of a linebacker in a ballet. It, however, was enough to convince 
the guard, who waved us by. 

Safe — We mosied around the lounge oreo ond the officer's club, but found nothing interesting so we headed 
to the southernmost room. The guard wouldn't let us by so Kate introduced him to her Uzi, leaving him to ponder 
his poor judgment in a pool of blood. Behind the desk in the far corner of the room was a map with some scribbfings 
on it and behind that was a safe. Kate smiled like a kid ot Christmas ond pulled out her plastic explosives, but 
Eugene stopped her as she was molding it in her hands. He moved up to the safe and turned the tumblers around 
— all the while muttering "Hewey, Dewey, Louie, 1 1, 1 6, 27" — and it clicked open. Goodies tumbled out of 
the safe as Kate smiled approvingly at Eugene and gathered up the loot. 

Ugly — In the room across the way we found Ugly, a man whose nickname scarcely began to tell the full story. 
He commanded us not to come closer unless we wanted Felicia to die and quickly threw out on ultimatum: Let 
him go and he'd let Felicia live or kill him and seal Felicia's fate with his. Without consultation, Stew told him he 
had to die since he was the source of friction for the whole town and because nobody that ugly should remain 
on the face of the earth. Felicia angrily eyed her husband at our choice, but Mayor Pedros could only give a weak 
shrug. f 

As Ugly peeled off a round, he hit Mayor Pedros in the leg. The rest of us fired on him and reduced him to a red 
paste. Eugene ran over to Felicia and quickly used his skills to disarm the bomb. Once free, she told us not to worry 
about her and to go find Ace. As she wrapped Mayor Pedro's leg, we left with her instructions. 

Ace — We returned to the officer's club. A man behind the counter followed us intently with his eyes. Sensing 
trouble, the pistolero unholstered his gun but before he could fire, Kate put him down with a squeeze of the 
trigger. We moved behind the counter where the body had dropped and there we found a secret stairway leading 
down to a cellar. Down in the cellar there were two cells, one from which we heard rustling. Kate picked the lock 
and out came Ace, casually stretching his arms as if he had been expecting us. He told us he knew his way around 
and asked if we would join him. Since all of us were interested in getting more miles per bullet, we agreed. 



19 







NEEDLES 



■ 



- 



8 

On our way out of Quartz, we found the same jeep we saw on our way in. Ace told us that he had worked on enough 
of these as he yanked open the hood. After a few minutes of tinkering, we were all packed into the jeep and on 
our merry way to Needles, Just as we had pulled into Needles, the jeep bucked and rattled before dying in front 
of a garage. What dumb luck. 

Police Station — I couldn't imagine how the desert was any safer with these deputized clowns. While here, 
we decided to visit with detective Spam Shade, who filled us in on the peculiar Bloodstaff murders. 

Ammo dump — The floor was spotted with puddles of blood, which we followed to a very large puddle, which 
happened to have o very dead man lying in it. Across his neck was a wide gosh from which oil his blood had 
drained. On the dead man's finger was a ruby ring with strange markings. Kate twisted it off the gnarled finger 
and slipped it onto hers for safe keeping. In the other hand, he was clutching a strange staff which Stew pried 
from his stiffened fingers. We also found ammo and something called a power pack, which we happily took. 

Downtown Needles — We headed into the west side of Downtown Needles looking for leads. Outside on 
unmarked building, a couple of ugly humanoids stood fast in the doorway. Even though we prepared our 
weapons, they stood unflinching. Without so much os a salutation, Ace shot them dead. We walked through the 
room and headed down the stairs where we found a Bloodstaff verification table. We fed it the one we had just 
found on the dead man and it got crunched into a pile of toothpicks. When we fed it the one we took from the 
dead humanoid, the same thing happened. Neither were the real thing. 

We headed over to the east side of Downtown Needles and found more gossip about the Servants of the Mushroom 
Cloud. Everything was pretty easy for us to get into except for this bar with a guy peering out of a peephole. 
Eugene remembered what the bum he fed snake squeezins to said about Club Acapulco, so Eugene gave the 
password ACAPULCO. We were in, but after losing a bundle, we were out again. 

In an alleyway, we found Christina. She wanted us to hire her, but Ace said that we had enough people in our 
party (and besides, he didn't like women who spit) so we left her behind. 

Servants of the Mushroom Cloud Church — The Bishop informed us that he had his second-in-command 
looking into the murders. I noticed that the Bishop had the same ring that we found from the dead man, so I told 
Kate to show the ring to him. The Bishop, realizing that his second-in-command was now completely out of 
command, offered us a reward to find the Bloodstaff. 




1 




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NEEDLES 



(Continued) 



Temple of Blood — We entered the Temple of Blood and were immediately beset upon by guards who knew 
we didn't belong there. In the blur of on orm, Ace drew his weapon and fired a burst thai mowed them flat. Near 
the front entrance, we found a room full of meditating worshippers. Stew sat down on one of the chairs and started 
chanting "Oooommmmm" at the top of his lungs. Once he thoroughly expelled the mantra from his system, he 
stood up from his chair and stretched. As he wos turning to leave, something on the chair caught his eye: a launch 
code. "Good karma!" he praised himself on the find. 

Checkerboard — After some exploring, we moved northeast through the Temple and found ourselves before 
a control panel which two Blood Guardians flanked. They asked if we were willing to meet their challenge and 
as Eugene shouted NO WAY! Stewshouted HELL YES! Suddenly, we were transported to the checkerboard, where 
our moves were awaited by the jeering crowd. ^^^Epr 

Stew took one step east on the board and was knocked down. Without thinking, he scampered back to the square 
that we were on to exhale away his dizziness. Ace muttered to himself about getting stuck on one of these in a 
military exercise and took a step north while we watched. Nothing. He took one step west. Nothing again. West 
three more times to the wall North twice. East five steps. South one. East two to the woll. North four. West two. 
South one. West four. North two. East two. We made it to the end of the board, recounted our steps, and answered 
30. 

Blood Priest — For our reward, we were dropped through a trap door. As we were shaking off the pain from 
our landings, Kate pointed across the river to an island. We were fairly good swimmers so we swam across, much 
to the delight of the hungry fish. Once across, snipers began to fire at us, fire which we were happy to return once 
we moved into better positions. Undaunted, we circled the island to a set of doors at the northern end. After we 
blew the doors open, we found a room within a room, from which thugs poured out to greet us. In this place we 
had one of our most vicious battles with the Blood Priest's henchmen, and eventually with the Blood Priest himself. 
When we finally killed the Blood Priest, the Bloodstaff was ours. 

Missile Room — When we mode it back across the water, we headed up the stairs where we found the shell 
of a huge missile. A man asked us for the launch code, to which Eugene kindly offered MOTEKIM. With that word, 
the tip of the missile fell open, letting sunlight in and us out. 

Bloodstaff — We returned the Bloodstaff to the priest, who smiled warmly at our authentic gift. In exchange 
for our efforts, he gave us plenty of loot, including an engine that would get the jeep running again. 




DARWIN VILLAGE 



ft 



We decided to head over to Darwin Village before we overwhelmed ourselves with Vegos. We had heard from 
some of the townsfolk in Needles that the southern entrance was laced with radioactive waste. If we had radiation 
suits, we could've taken the more direct southern route, but we didn't so we had to leg it north and enter through 

the mountains. . ' 

About half way into our trip, Eugene started getting delirious from the heat. It seemed that he had dropped his 
canteen somewhere along the way and wouldn't admit it to anybody, so he had been steadily dehydrating in 
silence. "What's the use of all this walking around?" he blurted with his fists clenched at his side. 

"Eugene, quit your whinin'!" Stew hollered so hard that the veins in his neck tripled in size. Stew didn't know 
Eugene was going delirious until he saw the imminent sunstroke in Eugene's face. Stew shook his head and gave 
Eugene a chug of water from his canteen. We then continued our walk into the bleary desert. 

One hour. That's how much longer it took before we found Darwin Village. Good thing too, because we were all 
beginning to think that life was going to end in the Big Beige Bed. Darwin Village was tiny, insignificant even. 
But we were glad to be there. The tough town police came to greet us with guns drawn, so we hurriedly threw 
on our Kevlar suits to minimize the damage of our confrontation. 

Mad Dog Fargo and Metal Maniac — We found these two guys sicker than dogs. They hod somehow been 
poisoned and all that would save them was an antitoxin, Eugene ran over to the lab next door to see what he 
could whip up. With the chemicals that we found in a locker in the bunkhouse at Ugly's Hideout in Quartz and 
with a couple of pieces of fruit, Eugene made two doses of antitoxin which he administered to the men. In minutes, 
their fevers broke and within hours, the men were nearly back to full health. They offered their services to us, 
but we declined and told them to just take it easy for a while. • ^1 

Black Market — Looking through his list of coveted passwords, Eugene gave the two guards CRETIN. The two 
guards stepped aside ond let us get close to the counter. Here were the best weapons we'd seen yet. Although 
the prices were fairly stiff, Kate picked up a nice assortment of explosives. 

The Underground — We entered something called The Underground, but didn't get very far into it. We tried 
picking the lock and blowing it open with explosives, but the door wouldn't budge. There was a narrow slot next 
to the door into which we jammed in a variety of cards, but nothing worked. 




25 








The trip to Vegas was quick. I guess it was because Eugene bought a new canteen, and was no longer dragging 
his butt along like a dying man. So there we were. Nuclear jewel of the desert. Neon capital of the world. Fifty- 
two cards for every man, woman, and child. It was o big place ond we didn't quite know where to begin in our 
search for whatever we thought we were searching for. Ace told me that a lot of the places were abandoned and 
weren't worth checking out. 

Police Station — There weren't any boys in blue here. The place had become a hangout for Fat Freddy's men. 
Aside from meeting a number of the many gun-happy inhabitants after we tripped the alarm in the upper left 
corner of the room while trying to get at some loot, we found a very revealing diary obout the battle of power 
between Fat Freddy and Faran Brygo. We also released Covenant, who was being held prisoner by the motley 
bunch. 

Spade's Casino — We all had our different gambling passions so we split up to seek our fortunes. When we 
regrouped, Stew told us obout the pit boss he ran into by the bar who told him to see his boss Crumb. Crumb, in 
turn, told him to see his boss, Faran Brygo, and gave him a password to use. 

Library — The librarian liked the way we looked and offered to teach us a few new skills. Eugene had enough 
skill points to learn about energy weapons. When he acquired his knowledge, he burst out, "Now I know what 
a power pack is for — energy weapons. All I need is a laser rifle and I can blow away the Mark Ill's with one 
pinky!" Our mild-mannered engineer was rapidly losing his lab coat demeanor. 

Fat Freddy — Thanks to some nameless beggar in the building at Maryland and Tropicana streets, we got the 
password to get into Fat Freddy's. Our meeting with Fat Freddy was short and sweet. He asked us to kill Faran 
Brygo and bring back the onyx ring he wore in exchange for $25,000. None of us really liked the sound of the 
deal, but we graciously accepted so we could get out with our arms and legs still attached to our bodies. 

Faran Brygo — Stew used the password KESTREL that Crumb, the manager of Spade's Casino, had given him. 
He then told the next set of guards that CRUMB had sent him. When we met Brygo, we didn't want to make him 
mad, so we asked him how we could help him. Brygo turned out to be a rather pleasant man who seemed sincere 
in his request for help. Rather than kill him, we accepted his request to find Max. According to Brygo, Max sounded 
like the guy with the real scoop. At this point in our journey, we were ready to talk to anybody who could tell 
us more than "something funny's going on in the desert." Stew couldn't help but wonder what would've happened 
if we had shot our way into Brygo's hideout; for now, he left the attack to his imagination. 



27 



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VEGAS, Temple of the Servants of the Mushroom Cloud 




Temple of the Servants of the Mushroom Cloud 





As Brygo had recommended, we came here to find Charmaine. From the outside, the Temple looked like a movie 
theater. The lobby area was filled with big glossy posters of Oppenheimer and Einstein, featuring them as if they 
were stars in some movie. We stepped up to the door and a woman asked us for the name of the Holy One. 
Although Eugene insisted that I tell Them OPPEN H E1MER, I gave them EINSTEIN instead. Something about Einstein 
sounded more authoritative. Anyway, the woman swung the door back and let us pass. 

Since the Temple seemed relatively safe, we broke up and milled around. Before we knew it, we heard an 
explosion and somebody yelling "Take that!" It seemed that our zealous Kate wanted very bodly to get through 
the northern doors. She couldn't pick them open so — as always — she used the explosives approach to solving 
her problems. 

A strange glow illuminated the room that Kate had won her way into. At first we thought it was neon, but Eugene 
yelled "Radiation!" His geiger counter clicked like mod near the glowing areas. As a exercise in smart living, we 
avoided these spots. 

Charmaine — The Temple was quiet except for the chanting that come from the bock room. Careful to not rouse 
the ire of the worshippers, we weaved quietly through the crowd and approached Charmaine, careful not to get 
too close. Brygo warned us that she went nuts when people got too near to her, so we moved in close enough 
just to get her attention. Maybe she was worried about catching Igglerot, one of those new airborne diseases that 
was going around. When she saw us, she asked if we sought the great glow. I didn't know what the hell it was 
but it sounded good to me so I said YES. I also told her that FARAN BRYGO sent us so she wouldn't think we were 
just a bunch of creeps who blew in from the desert looking for free food and lodgings. 

Charmaine instructed us to fetch the real Bloodstaff from the Bishop at the Temple of Blood and bring it back 
to her. We all balked at the idea of making the long, hot run back to Needles, but Stew had been smitten by 
Charmaine and was eager to do her bidding. With the password DIPSTICK in memory, Stew made the journey 
back — solo — and returned the next day with the Bloodstaff. 

Charmaine told us that she had last seen Max heading for the sewers and that if we wanted to find him, we'd 
have to get a hold of a Sonic Key. (She told us Max hid one out in the old golf course, but it just so happened 
that we had already pocketed one from a fight.) Charmaine handed us a map of the Temple and showed us how 
to get to the northwest room, where we'd find the entrance into the sewers. 






29 








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VEGAS 



Sewers 





The sewers were loaded with androids who were not pleased at our intrusion into their slmy underworld. The 

cyborgs were brutal, heartless killers, but the hexborgs were worse; they were almost os bad as the Scorpitron % 

in downtown Vegas. Some Frankenstein was cranking out an army of metal monsters! B 

The murky sewer water rushed quickly through the open underground channels. Rather than trying to cross H 
on foot only to foil and get washed through the whole sewer system with the brown mystery stuff (actually, we 
had an idea of what it was), we strung a rope over the rushing water and shimmied our way across. Maybe our 
swim skills were strong enough to resist being washed away, but better to say "We should have" than "We 
shouldn't have." 



Electronic Parts — We covered every inch of the sewers, getting into battle after battle after battle. We 
collected a variety of strange parts: rom boards, servomotors, power convertors, fusion cells. We weren't quite 
sure what to do with them, but we figured that these creatures couldn't possibly feel so strongly about hanging 
on to them if they weren't of some value. So like robots ourselves, we mechanically killed and collected everything 
in sight, in search of the inscrutable Max. 

The Chasm — A huge rectangular chosm blocked our progress. Rather than trying to cross it, we found on area 
of the wall where the bricks were so weak that we could shovel our way through. Kate was complaining about 
all the digging; she wanted to blow through with Law rockets, but Stew wouldn't let her waste the ammo. When 
we broke through, it was bock to more fighting and collecting. 

Max — Our seek and destroy mission eventually brought us to a lab that the sonic key helped us get into. In 
the lob was a long table with sections of a machine in need of repair. Eugene, who had been collecting the spoils 
of our sewer battle, ran the diagnostic function and began dropping parts into the machine and initiating repairs. 
There seemed to be no logic to how Max would work. Eugene just stuck in piece after peice, trying to find the 
right combination of parts. Finally, after nearly an hour of plugging in and pulling out, all parts were successfully 
in place. Eugene prepped for assembly. With a whir of sound, Max came to life. Excitedly, he told us about Sleeper 






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SLEEPER BASE 



Level 1 





This place wos like a morgue, which, despite its eeriness, was a welcomed break from the shooting and looting 
that had been going on. We were all pretty tired so we pulled up a cold, hard Floor and got some sleep. 

About ten hours later, I opened my eyes and stared at the ceiling, wondering where I was. Home, no. Sleeper 
Base, yes. I wiped the drool from my cheek and sat up. Kate, Ace, and Stew had already been up and about. 
Eugene, who could outsleep a hibernating bear, was submerged deep in a dream. I shook his shoulder until his 
eyes cracked open. 



"Listen, no more sleeping at Sleeper Base," I told him. "There's not much left to do before we're done with this 
job. The more you sleep, the more you delay. What do you say we finish this and go back to our homes where 
beds are beds and floors are floors?* "W 

"Yu beo wagk log?" was all that dribbled out of his mouth. 

"Yeah. I've been awake long. 1 only slept two hours." It was a lie, but somehow Eugene was the kind of guy whose 
head you really wanted to mess with. "We've already checked out the whole place. We found this really incredible 
faucet. When you turn on 'cold', liquid silver comes out. When you turn on 'hot', liquid gold comes pouring out. 
And the toilet bowls are filled with platinum." 

Eugene caught this lie. A good thing, too. If he believed this, I would have kicked him out of our party on the 
grounds of "reckless, party-endangering gullibility." Anyway, we were all up and ready to move on. 

Level 1 — We moved through the place slowly and methodically, checking out every inch of every room and 
cubicle. Our search yielded two thin cards, one labeled secpass 1 , the other secpass 3. The passes let us gain access 
to several of the rooms on this level. My favorite was the one that had the loot on the floor. All rooms should always 
have loot lying around on the floor. E 

Library — In the far room, we found a set of books entitled "Everything you always wanted to know about 
Clone Preparation Chemicals" and a library that offered cloning skills. Eugene was hot to learn something new 
and Stew was hot to get cloned so Eugene studied up on the technique. 











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With secposses in hand, we moved to the second floor and used them to get into o number of the rooms, 
we couldn't get into. We resigned ourselves to getting into them later on if we could find more secpasses. After 
rooting through one of the northern rooms, we added a secpass A to our collection of cards. 




Power controller — The power controller in the northeost most room was missing a convertor, so Eugene 
installed the one we had found. Eugene suspected that it was running some unit somewhere in the building so 
he thought that while we were here, he'd get it running. M y 

Clone Machine — Stew was licking his lips when we found this. The thought of himself in multiples was almost 
too great for him to stand. Without wasting a precious second, he put Eugene and his newfound skills to work. 
The first thing Eugene did was run the system diagnostic, which told him that there was a problem with the outflow 
system. Kate ran out of the room and came back with several jugs from another room to use. Once these 
makeshift outflow devices were set in place, the system was ready to go. 

Clone Pod — These were long sleek tubes of steel, just large enough to encase one human. Stew was the first 
to show his absolute faith in science and merrily jumped into one of the pods. Eugene poured in the solution and 
the cloning process began. It only took a second for the machine to read Stew's genetic pattern, but like a fine 
wine, the entire development process would take a while so — as much as Stew wanted to — we didn't hang 
around. He was comforted enough to know that if he were to die, he would still be alive. 



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SLEEPER BASE 



Level 3 



Level 3 brought little more surprise than level 1 or 2. In one of the center rooms, Kate picked open a lock on a 
desk to (ind secpass 7. This brought our total card count to four. 

Power Generator — In the southeast corner, there was a narrow hall with a high energy field that zapped 
us when we tried to walk through (Ace couldn't get his hair to lay back down for days). Instead of forcing our 
way through the forcefield at the expense of our lives, we backed out of the hallway. Once safe, Eugene clapped 
his hands together in a sudden flosh of inspiration. He told us that he was going to the room with the power 
controller and would cut the power long enough for us to get through the force fields. 

A half minute after Eugene split from the group, the buzzing of energy ceased. We hustled down the hall to the 
next door when the power came back on, allowing us to use our secpass on the door. Once through, Eugene cut 
the power as we moved on and turned it back on when we got to the next door. We popped open the last door 
and inside the room found a plasma coupler and fusion cell which Kate slipped into her bag. We made our way 
out the same way we got in, turning the power on and off. 

Helicopter Trainer — The helicopter trainer was one of the most advanced any of us had ever seen. After 
adding a part to repair the simulator door, Stew stepped into it, but much to his disbelief, he was rejected due 
to poor cochlear neural development. Kate stepped into it but was likewise rejected. When I jumped in, I was 
accepted. My high IQ, high dexterity, and good ears seemed just enough to get me by. So — in a snap of a finger 
— I had learned how to fly a helicopter. Kate was jealous that I got to leorn, but Stew didn't mind. He was still 
high from having been cloned. 

At this point, we had seen all the splendors of Sleeper Base that our handful of secpasses would let us. We 
remembered what Max said about going to Project Darwin before we'd be able to find out everything about 
Sleeper Base. Off to Project Dorwin it was. 



37 




Vt 




FINSTER'S CHAMBERS 



FINSTER'S CHAMBERS 





During our previous visit here, we couldn't get into The Underground. Now with secpass 7 in hand, we were able 
to open many of the doors. From the ground floor we took on elevator that led to the upper level. There we found 
Irwin John Finster, who didn't seemed phased by our unannounced visit. Like a proud father, he showed us his 
pet project, a model of how the world was going to be when all men were gone. Then he abruptly asked us to 
leave and disappeared. We searched the rest of the upper floor, but didn't find anything of interest except for 
the Mindlink, which we had no idea what to do with. 

Lower level — We went back to the elevator ond decided to go to the lower level. It asked for o password 
and Eugene, who remembered seeing "Proteus=Darwin" in the Quartz Courthouse jail cell, entered PROTEUS. 
When we got down there, we found o cell door which Kate broke open using her strength. (I suppose if I had to 
marry a woman, I'd want one just like her: one who could jack up a cor with her pinky; one who could tie bows 
with cast iron rods; one who could separate a house from its foundation. You really never know when shell come 
in handy.) Just as the cell door swung fully open, a group of prisoners rushed past us without so much as a thanks. 
We didn't want to hang around to take the blame for this unauthorized emancipation, so we took the elevator 
bock up to the upper level. Finster had returned and somehow knew that we cut the prisoners loose so he lunged 
at us in blind anger. But before he could lay a finger on us, Stew shot him dead in his tracks. 



Mindlink — Much to our surprise, his head rolled off of his body, exposing wires from every color of the rainbow 
— Finster was a cyborg! Eugene, who had excellent cyborg skills, scooped up the head and ran off with it over 
to the Mindlink in the next room. Before we could osk him what he was doing, he had connected the android's 
head to the Mindlink and had slipped a cyber helmet over his head. He could no longer hear us. 




FINSTER'S CHAMBERS 






Mind Maze 





Fins ter ' s Mind Maze — Although he claimed it was just minutes, hours hod passed before Eugene regained 
his consciousness. He told us of the strange mind maze that he thought he would never return from. His 
explanation goes as follows: 

"In each room I was asked a question that I had to answer before I could proceed. The answer to get out 
of the first arena was 32, and the second was 5 1 2. In the third arena I ran into the Night Terror, a monster from 
my psyche that I knew I would never be able to kill so I left it alone. The answer to move on was 20. 

Things got trickier in the fourth arena. This is where I was buffeted around by a teleporter. ! was tired 
of running around so I just stopped in the northwest corner. That's where I started using my IQ to think it out. 
All of a sudden, I hear Finster's voice and I get bumped to a new square. I just kept using my IQ until I wound 
up in the southwest corner. From there I ran straight for the door to the east. For the next riddle I answered 
FINSTER. ~S 

"In the fifth arena i ran into a Lie spider. After I killed it, I moved over to the web and repeatedly used 
my strength to break through. To get out of thai arena, I answered NOTHING. 

The sixth arena scored me the most. I only played baseball once and I wound up with a black eye and 
two missing front teeth. I didn't know what to do so I shut my eyes, swung at the ball, and barely eeked out a 
single. I guess my poor performance got me thrown into the showers. After trying every skill and weapon I had, 
it turned out to be ploin luck that got me out of there. 

"In the seventh arena, I broke through a silicon wall that ran from door to ceiling using my strength. Just 
as I crossed through the hole, a finster-looking android confronted me, which I killed. I put my shoulder up against 
the other silicon wall and broke through again with my strength. I had to kill another one of those androids before 

I was let out. Jf^L B tt^ M 

"Next arena, more androids. After I killed one, I picked up its head and answered ICE8ERG to its riddle, 
which let me into the next arena. Here a booming voice threatened that I would be killed if I went west and you 
guys would be killed if I went east, so I went west, but nothing happened. As I passed through a narrow doorway, 
I was thrown into a room where I heard you guys talk about my EEG. I was just strong enough to use my IQ to 
signal that I was still alive. When I was strong again, I got out of the room. From here I moved south and ran 
into the lost Finster. 

"I killed Finster with my last few clips of ammo. I found in his pocket a secpass B which I think opens one 
of the room at Sleeper Base/ 




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GUARDIAN CITADEL 




Before we went to the Guardian Gtadel, we went back to Sleeper Bose and used secpass B on one of the rooms 
we couldn't previously get in to on level 2. There we found a cache of weapons and pseudo-chitin armor, which 
readied us for the ills of the Guardian Citadel. 

At the gate we were stopped by two brothers, David and Goliath. We knew they weren't lilting flowers, but we 
also didn't expect them to be so hard to kill. When we finally did bring these giants down, we found a Pulsar key 
which had been etched with "Do not duplicate." We knew it must've been an important key. Stew looked at it 
this way and that and clucked his tongue as if he knew something. 

We blew through the front door ond at that point, everybody with a weapon and a puke came to greet us. Our 
anti-tank weaponry skills were turning out to be tremendous assets. Without it, our RPG-7s, Sabot rockets, and 
Law rockets probably would hove shot in willy-nilly directions. As it was, we were doing a great job of nailing our 
targets. 

We mode our way through every room on the floor, ducking and blasting with every turn. When the firefighting 
was over, we found some power weapons, the likes of which we had never seen. Although we were all attached 
to our weapons, we knew that these were far more powerful and worth forsaking our beloved conventional 
weapons for. 

Quasar Key — To the right of the entrance was a museum. In it were five pedestals, each proudly displaying 
a piece of art. None of us liked to defile works of art, but we could hardly find the value in what we were looking 
ot so we tried opening the cases with our strength with some success. The ones we couldn't budge we smashed 
in. I picked up the twisted porcelain chunk of something-or-another from my case and looked at H. As I went to 
set it back down, I saw the key that had been sitting underneath it. When I showed it to Stew, his pupils constricted 
to black pinpoints. "The Quasar key," he said in his flattest voice. 





43 



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GUARDIAN CITADEL, Outer Sanctum 



GUARDIAN CITADEL 




Outer Sanctum 





Through the door in the mess holl we found a new series of rooms in what was colled the Outer Sanctum. Stew 
must've felt the time was ripe for on explanation because he huddled us together and told us in his most sober 
voice that we Am/to find two more keys. 'The alternative," he said, "is to not find them, go on home with our 
tails tucked between our legs, and wait for the world to get overrun by cyborgs and 'droids. Would you like that?" 
I had no idea when he suddenly figured all this out, but none of us wanted to challenge his new goal. I 

Nova Key — We split up and began our key-finding task. I was in a room sifting through the power packs I 
had found when, from the next room, I heard Kate banging against the wall as if she were struggling arm-in- 
orm with somebody. Before I could run over to help, I heard her hooting at the top of her lungs, "Nova key! Nova 
key! And / found it!" Three down, one to go. 

Blackstar Key — In one of the rooms there was an altar. On it stood a statue of a madonna-like woman and 
a few dried flowers at the base. I searched around it and under it, but didn't find anything out of the ordinary. 
I couldn't seem to walk away from it, so I looked it up ond down using my perception. There, imbedded in the 
wall between the stones was the Blackstar key. I immediately took it to Stew, who slapped me so hard on the back 
that I staggered three steps forward. 

Cell — In one of the cells through the door in the northeast, we found Redhawk. He asked us to take him back 
to his father, the Junkmaster of Savage Village. We told him that we had plenty enough to do without playing 
personal escort to some coppery-skinned punk. He countered by telling us that his father knew where our true 
enemy was. Stew believed him, so we all had to believe him. We would take him home after we completed our 
task at hand. 

Portcullis — The stairs to the north were blocked by a huge portcullis. To raise it, Kate went through the door 
to the left of the stairs into a small room. With her soon-to-belegendary amazonion strength, she turned the 
crank and raised the portcullis. * 









GUARDIAN CITADEL 




Inner Sanctum 



We hod no idea why this was called Ihe Inner Sanctum. There was no feeling of warmth, karma, philosophy, or 
anything else thot we thought places called "inner Sanctums" should have. *^ 

Power Armor and Power Packs — The two gold doors were shut tight against intrusion, but, ironically, it 
turned out to be one of the easiest for us to break into. No key, card, or explosive would work; only the correct 
code entered on the alphanumeric keyboard would allow entry. Thanks to the sloppy security around this place, 
we had seen ROSEBUD scribbled in a number of places. The doors parted to reveal a room full of power packs 
and power armor. Always happy to update our technology, we immediately stripped the pseudo-chitin armor and 
threw on the power armor. 



Secpass B — We walked west through a series of three rooms, opened another one of those "security doors," 
and found a couple of desks. I turned the place upside down, but all I found was another secpass 8 and an old 
sled. 

Toaster — Eugene never ceased to amaze me. He even knew how to fix a toaster. We found a workbench for 
him lo set the toaster on and let him go to work. Even more amazing than his sweeping skills was the fact that 
he managed to pull a plasma coupler out of the oiling toaster, a strange place for a strange item, if ever there 



was. 



Helicopter — In a far corner of the building, a helicopter sat behind a chain link fence. I was tempted to blast 
through the fence and take off with it since I had learned how to fly one at Sleeper Base, but nobody had a desire 
to be airborne with a man whose training came from the equivalent of a match book cover. Perhaps another day 
I would come back for my little joy ride. 







SAVAGE VILLAGE 



SAVAGE VILLAGE 





Slew wos all hot to head for the final confrontation, but Redhowk wanted no part of it. "Take me to Savage 
Village," he begged, "and my dad, who's a powerful chieftain, will reword you." 

As we approached Savage Village, we saw the heavily barbwired gate in the front. Redhawk kept mumbling a 
series of words in an attempt to recall the password. "Carburetor? No. Scrap metal. Sheet metal? Linoleum. 
Mmmmm. Rust..." 



"REDHAWK," said Stew. 
"What?" answered Redhawk. 




"No, not you. The password. The password is REDHAWK. I got it after climbing alone to the top of one of the sand 
hills in Needles. Don't ask me why it wos there." I 

A segment of almost every item made between the first world war and yesterday could have been found inside 
Savage Village. One man's garbage was another man's treasure, I figured. If this was their village, the place 
where they lived, I would've hate to have seen what their real junkyard looked like. 

Junkmaster — We found him spaced out in his corner, wasted away from eternal days and nights of pining. 
When we brought him Redhawk, the Junkmaster jumped to his feet as ten years of life rushed bock into his body. 
In exchange for his son, he gave us a load of weapons. 







mm 




BASE COCHISE 



The Junkmaster's warning about the perils of Base Cochise rang through our heads. We didn't want to die in a 
place where steely-eyed cyborgs would be the only ones attending our funeral. Paranoia was on our side. 

Ace was looking over an aerial snapshot of Base Cochise. He pointed out the helicopter landing pad on top and 
said, "Let's fly in and avoid the front door defenses." This suggestion rang every one of my bells. If they wanted 
to put their lives in my little hands, I would be happy to fly them. 

So we returned to the Guardian Citadel and hopped into the chopper. It took a while to engage the pilot's controls 
and seat. Finally, it dawned on me to use my chopper skills. After that brilliant deduction, we took off without 
a hitch, flew over the mountains, and then crash landed on the roof of Cochise. Ace was about to comment on 
my first solo, bu! a 7mm Vulcan cannon distracted him. 

We ducked out of the helicopter, careful not to get hit. After mopping up a few androids and antipersonnel 
artillery, we climbed down from the roof, picklocked the front gate, opened the second, and clambered to the 
tomb below. We could've dropped through the roof with rope, but that was no way to behove as guests. 





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BASE COCHISE 




Level 1 




"Uuuuuuuuu" I could hear Eugene mutter to himself. Eugene had come the longest way and he had the most to 
lose. Months ago he was a nose-picking laboratory geek. Today, he wos ten times the technician and one hundred 
times the fighter. And he had a killer tan on top of it. I knew he wos torn between finishing what we had started 
and taking everything and running. m 

Actually, we had all learned a lot and could've token it and ran. Any one of us could've fetched a high price as 
mercenaries. There was always a world market for gun-toting people who could follow a direction or two. But 
adding the destruction of 8ase Cochise on our resumes was something that we just couldn't resist, something that 
would up our asking price substantially. We were arguing over whether or not we wanted to go through with this 
when Stew raised his hands. 

"We started out on a mission to save the world. Now it may actually be carried out in the name of greed. Well, 
if it gets the job done, who cores? I'm just telling you we're all finishing what we started. And I don't care about 
your reasons. You could do it for the handshakes. You could do it for the honor of your pooch. You could do it 
cause it just plain feels good. I don't care. I'm still king of this dung heap and everybody is coming with me." 
End of discussion. We went up to the door, blew it open, and began the end. 



We stepped onto a floor conveyor belt, sort of like the ones that used to be in airports. At the end of our 
ride, we were faced with three short corridors. Directly in front of us was a computer. Eugene had been working 
on a similar one back at Ranger Center and was about to enter BREAK when Stew stopped him mid-word. Stew 
was worried about making our presence known to some ill-tempered computer at this point, so we chose not to 
mess with H. 

We went down the right corridor and felt olong the wall for buttons, switches, or panels. Stew rapped his fist against 
it and said it sounded hollow enough to penetrate. Without having to ask, Kate had a Law rocket in hand and 
blew a hole clean through. After the dust cleared, we could see a chute leading down to the floor below. Like kids 
on a slide, we jumped in and slid down to the next level. 





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BASE COCHISE 





Level 2 



Robot Making Machines — Around the corner from where we landed we found a computer whose sole 
purpose in life was to extend the bridge thai traversed the radioactive muck. ( If it weren't for the bridge, we would 
hove hod to put on radiation suits, something which we had neglected to carry. We'll have to remember to plan 
better next time.) 

We safely crossed and made our way to the center of the building where we found the robot-making machines. 
Eugene typed RUN at one of the terminals, and the screen displayed three choices: admin, hunter, or killer. We 
weren't interested in creating more enemies to battle, so we didn't choose either of the latter two. We did, 
however, select admin since it sounded relatively harmless. In a minute, a robot named Vox was spit out of the 
unit. For an administrative robot, he had an awesome constitution so we asked him to join our party. With Vox's 
help, we destroyed the machines from whence he come. It was a small, but satisfying step towards stopping the 
android invasion. Js? B 

In the northeast room, we found power armor, Low rockets, RPG-7s and power packs; all those good things in 
life. Stew was sorting out the weapons when the seriousness of our task seemed to strike him. "It seems pretty 
quiet here," he said. "Let's rest here before we wrap it up." 







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BASE COCHISE, Level 3 



BASE COCHISE 





Level 3 




The Four Funny Rooms — We tried to poss through the south door but keys, rockets, ond threots didn't work. 
Eugene looked into a side room and saw a computer at the other end. Shimmying with agility over one of the 
slippery bars and rocking perilously from side to side, Eugene made it to the other end without getting deep fried. 
Once he switched on the computer — which opened the vault door — he made a cautious return. 

The next room was too serene to be true. I used my perception and, not surprisingly, found the place riddled with 
land mines. Moving cautiously along with the fear of having my feet blown into a size 30 triple Z, I made it safely 
across to the computer. I threw the switch to open the second vault door, and made my way back effortlessly, 
now that I knew where those pesky landmines were. 

The third room housed some strange meteorological experiment. Three different elements blocked the path to 
the computer. The first, electric, was a dancing shield of tiny lightning bolts. The second element was hurricane- 
speed winds made visible only by the dust it kicked up in the room. The third layer, cold, was a shifting shield 
of ice and snow. With her power armor and a lot of luck and strength, Kate cut through each layer, making it 
to the third vault door switch and bock. Although her hair was tangled into a rat's nest and her skin mottled in 
ten shades of red and white, she recovered after a few minutes of rest. 

Stew wonted to handle the last room himself. Two steps into the combat simulator room, a Laser Cannon 
materialized from the stone walls, firing at Stew who immediately dove face-down behind a rock. Setting up in 
a crouched position and taking careful aim, Stew exploded it into junkyard parts with his meson canon. He took 
a few steps forward before he was again attacked ond again had to return fire. After several more of these duck - 
and-fire exercises, he made it to the computer. Mission accomplished, Stew flipped it on and easily fought his way 
back out. 





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BASE COCHISE, Final Level 





BASE COCHISE 






Final Level 

The final level of Base Cochise contained four rooms. Ace rolled out a map we had never seen before and oskec 
us to gather around for the lowdown. He explained to us what we had to do and heartily suggested that we not 
screw up this late in the game. Bqw^-jjr '•'"'< m 9 

Security Electronics Room — Here we found a machine that allowed us to reduce the frequency of security 
units being released. Eugene didn't need any convincing on our port to use his electronic skills to make it work. 

Robot Maintenance Room — This is where the robots went to get the most out of their metallic lives. Kate 
blew up the computer that controlled the conveyor belts, which completely shut down the system. 



OSHA — There was nothing here. Nothing, except for the Silver Strangler, one of the worst killing machines 
we had ever seen. We destroyed it, but not without o high price. Kate lay bleeding on the floor, her side cut clean 
open. There was nothing we could do to save her so we left her behind. ■ I 

Reactor Core Room — We didn't have radiation suits, thanks again to our lack of proper planning. Stew, who 
was becoming more and more curious to us, told us to follow his exact footsteps unless we wanted to become 
radioactive Rangers. He led us over to the glass wall behind which a large computer was enshrined. After blowing 
it open, he told Eugene to install the plasma coupler we had found at Sleeper Base. 

After we backtracked out of the room, Stew surprised us all by pulling out a highly confidential military document. 
"This is the destruction sequence/' he said. "We have to split up to do this. I'm going to explain to you what 
sequence we have to turn the keys in and what order the colors have to be executed. We're almost there, guys. 
This is the last thing I'm ever going to ask you to do. Be a pal and don't mess it up." I looked with surprise at 
the others who could only stand with their mouths ajar. 

To complete our task, we had to split up. Stew and Vox remained in the Reactor Core Room with the Blackstor 
key. Eugene took the Nova key and ran over to the Robot Maintenance Room. Ace took the Pulsar key and went 
to the Security Electronics. I took the Quasar key and went to the OSHA Room. As Stew had instructed us, we turned 
the keys in the following sequence: Blackstar, Nova, Pulsar, and Quasar. To complete the destruction process, 
we ran the color sequence: Nuclear Reactor Room — red, Security Electronics Room — yellow, OSHA Room — 
green, and Robot Maintenance Room — blue. 

The countdown began. The greater task was done and all that was left was the lesser task of escaping with our 
lives. Much to our surprise and relief, we found an escape pod in the north wall of the courtyard and blasted out 
of there. We sot in stunned silence as Base Cochise grew smaller and smaller through the port window. Part of 
the shock came from having completed our mission, part from losing Kate, and part from Stew's sudden 
weirdness. 

59 










The pod took us up to the first level and from there we ran like rabbits out into the desert. We hod spent mor 
in the desert unravelling a bloody, sandy mess and it all came down to this final moment, where o small city would 
light up the desert sky like the first bomb that dropped a hundred years ago in World War III. After our amazement 
passed, we turned to Stew and asked why he had never revealed the fact that he knew Base Cochise existed. Stew 
removed his head, shook out a little sand out and reattached it to his neck. "Re-cuz," he began in an electronically 
clipped voice, "I wuz not pro-grammed to." 



EPILOGUE 



So Stew turned out to be a 'droid. Pretty weird to think that the very thing we needed to exterminate helped us 
do the exterminating. Stew was okay though; he was a "friendly." Turns out he was one of the first androids 
developed at the Ranger Center, under the guidance of Einstein's great-great-great-great grandchildren. Stew 
now lives in a littleQuonset hut outside of Vegas and shoots at desert rats all day. Big news is that he just married 
a pretty prototype domestic 'droid named Stepford. 

Eugene is back in hh air-conditioned lab at the Ranger Center. He swears that he' II never get stuck out in the desert 
again and only goes outside to take an occasional soil sample. But if you feed him enough snake squeezing he 
does admit that he had a good time on his trip, and wouldn't trade in the experience for 30,000 crisp white lab 
coats. 

Kate. Well, she was barbecued in the big blast. If you have to go, a free cremation never hurts. May she rest in 
desert peace. 




I have a small atlas business on the side that keeps the money trickling in so I can travel and map. I'll hove a 
new map series coming out on the Australian outbacks soon. If you get sent there to squash an android uprising, 
be sure to pick it up. 



61 





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ELECTRONIC ARTS' 

ELECTRONIC ARTS, 1820 GATEWAY DRIVE, SAN MATEO, CA 94404 (4IS) $71 7171